Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Review: Rich Travel Perks, Low Cost

The card offers high ongoing rewards and generous benefits for a modest annual fee, but you must be eligible to join the credit union to get it.

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Our Take

4.6

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The card packs a lot of value for a comparatively low cost, making it an excellent and cost-effective choice for travelers.

Navy Federal Credit Union Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee

$49

Regular APR

9.99% - 18.00%, Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: Rich rewards with no annual fee

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

2% cash back

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer earns a net 2% cash back on all spending: 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay your bill. The annual fee for this card is $0.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$250

Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

16.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

When it comes to travel credit cards, you typically get what you pay for. But the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card bucks that trend, offering benefits to rival those on cards with much higher annual fees.

For a modest annual fee of $49, you'll earn high ongoing rewards, not to mention a fat sign-up bonus that easily outstrips the cost of card ownership, plus plenty of travel-friendly side perks. For cost-conscious travelers looking for flexible rewards, it's an excellent choice.

One potential stumbling block: You have to join the Navy Federal Credit Union to apply, which may be a problem if you don't meet the eligibility criteria or just don't want the extra legwork.

Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card: Basics

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $49.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards: 

  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel purchases.

  • 2 points per dollar spent on everything else.

Points are worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed for things like travel, cash back, gift cards or merchandise.

APR: The ongoing APR is 9.99% - 18.00%, Variable.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits: 

  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees, up to $100 once every four years.

  • Cell phone protection when you pay your bill with the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card. It covers up to $250 per claim with a maximum of two claims per year.

  • Extended warranty service.

  • Secondary collision damage waiver coverage when you rent a car for 15 days or less and pay for the rental with your card.

  • Travel and emergency assistance. Travel accident insurance when you pay for the fare with your card.

  • Visa Signature benefits including discounts and perks on travel.

Benefits of the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Big ongoing rewards

Aside from earning 3 points per dollar spent on travel purchases, the card also pays a higher-than-average 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. With points worth 1 cent apiece, that's an outstanding ongoing rate, considering the standard for many flat-rate rewards cards is 1.5%. Navy Federal also broadly defines travel to include things like hotel stays, airfare, train tickets, rideshare services, parking expenses, commuter transportation, amusement parks and golf courses.

Global Entry or TSA Precheck Reimbursement

The Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card is one of several travel cards that offer a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees. But it's also among the least expensive of those kinds of cards, in terms of annual fees. If you are looking for that kind of perk, this card offers a cheap way to get it.

Drawbacks and alternatives

annual fee

It's comparatively modest: $49. But you might find the idea of paying anything for card ownership unpalatable. Depending on your spending patterns, you may do better with a travel card that charges no annual fee, such as the Discover it® Miles. It offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed against travel purchases.

Credit union membership is required

If you're not a current or former member of the military or a Department of Defense employee, or if you don't have the required family connections, you can't get this card. And even if you do meet the qualification criteria, you may find it cumbersome to join the credit union first just to apply for a credit card. Instead, consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, which offers 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and ordering in, travel (including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals), gas stations, rideshares, transit and popular streaming services, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points are worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed for things like travel, cash back or gift cards. You don't have to bank with Wells Fargo to qualify.

No transfer partners

With the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card, you have plenty of redemption options: You'll get 1 cent per point whether you use points to book travel through Navy Federal's Rewards Service Center, redeem for cash back or use Pay with Points to cover purchases on your statement. But you can't transfer points to specific airline or hotel programs.

If you want a card with a high rewards rate, similarly flexible redemption options and transfer partners, consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Among other options, you can redeem points as statement credits against travel purchases or transfer them to several loyalty programs — such as JetBlue, Etihad Airways or Air France-KLM — generally at a rate of 2 Venture miles to 1.5 miles or points. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, and a mile is worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel. It also comes with a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement.

For a look at how these cards compare versus the competition, see NerdWallet's roundup of the best credit cards to get.

Is the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card right for you?

If you're looking for a travel credit card with rich benefits at a low cost, yes. The stellar rewards rates, generous sign-up bonus and travel perks make the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card a steal for the price.

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